Something that’s been hanging over my head since January, when I was formally diagnosed (which I’m now referring to as “D Day”) is my driving licence.
During that appointment, I was told to do two things aside from come to terms with my diagnosis:
- Tell my employer (assuming I was comfortable to do so)
- Tell the DVLA
The first one was easy. I had already been open about my health with my line manager and quite a few colleagues too. The second seemed OK too. My consultant told me that I would need to complete a form and send it back to the DVLA who would then write to my consultant for her opinion on how my condition affects my driving. She reassured me that she had no objection to me continuing to drive.
I duly found the form online and set about completing it. I ended up waiting to my first appointment with Danny before completing it. I had a couple of questions to ask him before sending it. I knew that I would soon be meeting a specialist to find out more about medicating, and at this point I was expecting to be on a daily medication rather than the aggressive treatment that I’ll soon be starting. I wasn’t sure whether I should wait until that was decided, before informing the DVLA as they do ask questions about how you manage the condition.
Danny urged me to send the form off as soon as possible so upon arriving home from that appointment, I did so.
In spite of my consultants assurances, it was just one more unknown thing and something to worry about. What if they did take my licence away?
Within about six weeks of posting it off, I received a letter saying they were still awaiting information from my consultant and that they would be in touch in due course. A further three weeks later, I received another letter that made my heart sink.
“In addition to MS, we have information to say that you have another condition. Please complete the attached forms in respect of your Optic Neuritis.”
I was furious at first. I can see! My eye sight had come back and that was no longer an issue. I completed the new forms but I was worried sick. So worried, I included additional information although I wasn’t asked for it so that I could provide additional context. I couldn’t see how I would cope not being able to drive.
So for the last three weeks or so, I’ve been waiting with baited breath, half expecting my licence to be revoked. Yesterday I finally received confirmation that I can retain my licence, but I’m to be moved to a medical review one. Simply put, this means that right now, the DVLA are happy for me to continue driving but I’ll be reviewed every three years for any deterioration in my health. This is so significant as MS can really affect the eyes, as I have experienced with double vision and blindness.
I’m trying to see (yes I know!) the positives in this. They’re looking out for the safety of me, and everyone else. I don’t have to pay driving licence renewal fees anymore either. For some reason though, this is one of the things that comes completely out of left field and reminds me of just how serious what I’m going through is.